Warriors fight. Not all of them are on the side of good but they fight. In so many of our fairy tales, we paint this image of a princess who is a blonde haired blue eyed beauty who is a damsel in distress. We see the warrior as this big hulking man who comes and saves this lovely little damsel.
This story is different. The warrior is the beauty. And she’s on the side of good. Justice is her heart.
Her name is Laretha Hulse. I’ve gotten to know her over the past year and a half through an online Facebook group that the two of us are a part of. We are part of a community that encourages us to pursue our dreams and has really become a part of our family during that time. Laretha’s dream is justice, that’s the kind of work she wants to do as a lawyer. The truth is, she already fights for justice now. Earlier this year when I shared the story about being assaulted in an article, she shared it with a community of women. Her heart was so fierce as she learned about others who had experienced the same thing.
Your dream doesn’t wait until you have all of the proper training. It lives and breathes in you now.
When we sat down across from one another via FaceTime to talk about her dream, Laretha told me a story of knowing at an early age what she wanted to do. “I was eight years old and standing in the kitchen with my mother. I remember we were making noodles and I looked up at her and said, ‘Mom, I’m going to be a lawyer.’” And then, she laid that dream down. Life happened, as it does for so many of us. She got married, had children, got divorced, and then fell in love again and was remarried. Laretha has always done well for herself when it came to jobs. She entered the corporate world and found success there.
But her heart longed for justice. That dream never died. Even with all of the living and the life, Laretha’s dream would not be squelched. Just over a year ago, she decided to apply to go back to school to get her degree and become a lawyer. When she went to get all of her application material in order, she found the private high school she attended was no longer in existence. There was not even a single copy of her transcripts to be found. Anywhere. She was informed that if she wanted to apply, she would have to get her GED.
The shame consumed her. Here she was well established and successful in the corporate world and she was going to have to study and pass the GED at 42 years of age. Her community rallied around her and pushed her to go for it. “Who cares?” they said. “It will get you that much closer to your dream. We are proud of you. We believe in you.” Their words propelled her forward. She passed her GED and received her acceptance letter for college, which was conditional because of the GED.
Last winter she began her first semester of school. She was working full-time, going to school full-time, her and her husband have a side business and she was taking care of her family. Her grades? 4.0.
“Chasing your dreams is hard work,” Laretha told me, “you want to cry. A lot of times you want to cuss and sometimes you want to drink. I’m surprised by how many women want to be able to pursue their dreams as well. What has happened for me is NOT luck. It is hard work. I love being able to encourage these women. I think if you’re taking small steps towards your dream, that is what matters.”
When I asked her what it meant to “mutiny well,” she said this,
“Give yourself grace. Realize your dream is not your own. It’s not just about you.”
It’s true. You were given your dream for a reason. That reason isn’t for you to grasp it tightly inside and look at the beauty and glory of what it might be. That reason is for you to go and live it. That reason is for your dream to echo out into the lives of those around you and change their world too. Don’t let the small hard steps stop you from doing what you were created to do. Power through the crappy parts like Laretha. You were made for this, baby.